Special to the Journal
Atlanta, Ga – Georgia is one of seven states to earn a “B” grade in a national study of state human trafficking laws. Shared Hope International, a non-profit committed to combating human trafficking, produces an annual report grading the effectiveness of each state’s human trafficking law. Georgia improved from a “C” to a “B,” the highest grade awarded this year.
“I am pleased that Georgia’s human trafficking law is considered among the best in the Nation,” said Attorney General Sam Olens. “Since becoming Attorney General, eliminating human trafficking, which is really modern day slavery, has been a priority of mine. I was honored to work with Senator Renee Unterman and Representative Ed Lindsey on strengthening our human trafficking statute so that the punishment fits the crime. Our improved law is now viewed as a national model.”
Georgia received high marks for the criminalization of domestic minor sex trafficking and the tough penalties associated with trafficking. Georgia’s new law substantially increases the punishment for human trafficking from a possible one year sentence to a minimum of ten years in prison. If the trafficking causes a minor to commit sex acts by coercion or deception, human traffickers now face 25 years to life in prison, up from maximum sentence of 20 years. Offenders can also be fined up to $100,000.00.
Georgia was also graded highly for the law’s protective provisions for child victims and criminal provisions addressing demand.
The Governor’s Office for Children and Families, which leads the statewide Task Force and the State’s response to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), has also been instrumental in the fight against human trafficking in Georgia. The State has made strides in awareness, trainings, services and support for victims, as well as collaboration among partners to address CSEC and human trafficking. In addition to the strengthened human trafficking law, law enforcement has made the rescue of victims and prosecution of these criminals a high priority. All of these efforts have led to a strong collaborative approach to reducing the demand and eliminating human trafficking in the State of Georgia.